Arle’que Kimble knew it was time for a big change in his life. “I was seeing friends go to jail and dying around me. And I was spending too much time fighting and was not trying to work.” In 2014, his best friend died from gun violence.
Arle’que, who is 22 and grew up in Humboldt Park, says he got kicked out of two high schools but was able to get his GED. He adds that he “was in jail in County a couple of times - I was going to jail since I was 13.”
In 2017, a friend referred Arle’que to ALSO’s Safe Streets program. “As soon as ALSO got the opportunity to help me, that’s what they did,” he says. He participated in ALSO’s 10-10-10 Employment Program, which teaches marketable sound industry skills and engages participants in violence prevention activities and learning skills that contribute to healthy choices, resilience, and peaceful conflict resolution.
Through ALSO, he has not only learned about employment and training opportunities - he has been mentored by a team of outreach workers who understand his background and how he can take steps to move forward with his life. “They’ve made me see that there’s another path,” he says. “I was also able to talk about my experience with the outreach team, and leave it there. The people at ALSO are real good role models and definitely didn’t give me any negativity.”
Arle’que and many other ALSO clients receive services through Communities Partnering 4 Peace (CP4P), which provides a comprehensive, long-term approach to reducing violence and gang activity among the individuals and communities it serves. CP4P, which is convened by Metropolitan Family Services, features nine of Chicago’s leading outreach organizations, including ALSO, which serves clients in Humboldt Park.
Arle’que has worked closely with ALSO outreach worker Marcus Davis and has also interacted with many others on the outreach team. He has participated in circles with other ALSO clients where they talk about their lives and plans, and was also asked to speak at a benefit for Safe Streets.
Meanwhile, the case management team at ALSO has connected Arle’que and other clients to a wide range of services and opportunities based on their specific needs. For Arle’que that meant linking him to opportunities that would help him gain a foothold in the workplace. Other clients may need to be referred to crisis intervention, re-entry or substance abuse services, education resources or a range of other supports through the program.
Last year, Arle’que passed a test to enter a carpenter’s union. In April of 2019, he plans to enter an apprenticeship training program where he’ll train for this profession. “Growing up, my stepdad was a pipefitter and my mom had a 32-flat building,” he adds. “This is something that feels right.”
In the meantime, he is working at a stock person at The Dill Pickle Food Co-op, a community-owned organic grocery store in Logan Square.
Arle’que describes ALSO as “giving constant encouragement to me as a person. I am going to listen if you say something that makes sense to me, and that’s what happened here. The guys in the Safe Streets program know how to relate to guys who participate. They voice their opinions with respect for what we have going on. It’s safe, comfortable and open. What do we talk about? Everyday stuff. It could be anything and everything - it could be home, girlfriend or work stress.”
The message that he received from ALSO’s outreach team, Arle’que says, is “that if ‘we can do it you can do it.’”
In the last year, Arle’que says, he has turned his life around with the help of ALSO. “Now I’ve got my own apartment and my own car. I go to work every day and focus.” He says he talks to Marcus three or four times a week. “If there’s something wrong, I tell him.”
These days, he is also sharing his story and insights with younger Safe Streets clients - and by mentoring his four younger siblings as well. “You have to show them that you really care,” he said.
Marcus Davis adds that he hopes people who come to the Safe Streets program follow in Arle’que footsteps since he has been so motivated to improve his life. “You did what you had to do,”he said to Arle’que recently. “I see the change in you,” he said.
Meanwhile, Arle’que says his long-term goal is to buy his own building someday in Humboldt Park, where he grew up. Turning around his life, helping others and focusing on his neighborhood - that’s the path Arle’que has embraced in the last year.
“Before, I didn’t care about anything - I was living life like it wasn’t mine,” he says. ““I wanted to make a change for myself, and the team at Safe Streets gave me the tools,” says Arle’que. “They showed me I didn’t need to be doing the stuff that I was doing.”
For more information about ALSO’s Safe Streets program, contact Jorge Matos, Director of Safe Streets, at email@example.com
Through ALSO, Arle’que Kimble has not only learned about employment and training opportunities - he has been mentored by a team of outreach workers who understand his background and how he can take steps to move forward with his life.
The case management team at ALSO has connected Arle’que and other clients to a wide range of services and opportunities based on their specific needs.
Arle’que describes ALSO as “giving constant encouragement to me as a person. I am going to listen if you say something that makes sense to me, and that’s what happened here.”
ALSO is an organization committed to end violence in homes and communities nationwide. Your contribution will help us live out our mission to develop, promote and implement model programs in order to build a movement for peace and safety in the coming year.
With your support, we will:
- Continue providing jobs for in-risk youth through our 10-10-10 job training program.
- Provide bystander intervention training for youth and community members, giving people the skills to know how to increase safety in high risk situations.
- Explore and reveal the relationship between intimate partner and community violence to create programming that will reduce both.